September 30, 2013

In Guerrero Investments, LLC v. Am. States Ins. Co., 7:12-CV-430, 2013 WL 5230718 (S.D. Tex. Sept. 17, 2013), the Federal District Court Judge for the McAllen Division of the Southern District of Texas denied Plaintiff’s Motion to Remand and determined an insurer adjuster was improperly joined for purposes of defeating diversity jurisdiction. 

American States Ins. Co, removed the case from the 398th Judicial District Court in Hidalgo County.  Plaintiff’s Original Petition alleged that it owned six properties which sustained covered losses in the form of windstorm, hailstorm, and water damages that occurred on an unspecified date.  Plaintiff made only one factual reference to the adjuster in that it “committed the actions alleged against Plaintiff in the complaint.”  The Insurer removed the lawsuit on the basis of improper joinder and Plaintiff filed a Motion to Remand.

The Court determined that there must be a reasonably possibility for recovery, and not merely a theoretical one, against a non-diverse defendant in order to remand a case back to State Court.  The Court agreed with the insurer that Plaintiff’s Original Petition did not identify a reasonable basis for recovery against the adjuster.  Because Plaintiff did not make specific allegations against the adjuster, its allegations lacked the required “factual fit” to justify remand.